The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I picked up the book from Moonriver Cafe (Singapore Official Bookcrossing Zone). It was registered by birmingham-rose in UK, and has got 9 journalers across 5 countries since.

This is the type of book I read because everybody reads it. Quite unexpectedly though, I enjoyed it. It’s quite an easy reading. I’m not sure if it’s really as good as everybody else claims it to be though. I mean, for me it’s definitely not 5 stars, or even 4. Maybe 3.5. But lately I’ve been stingy with my stars, so there you go.

From the back cover:
My name is Salmon, like the fish: first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertiliser.

The story is taken from Susie’s point of view, from heaven. This way she can see everybody and everything. Her family, father, mother, younger sister, and younger brother, her friends, her highschool crush, and, of course, her murderer. I kinda like a lot of the characters in the story, with the exception of her mom. Her selfish selfish mom. I wouldn’t spoil it for you, so go ahead and read it.

I like the description of heaven in the book. How people have different heaven, and how you need to let go of the world if you want to be really in heaven. How you share your heaven with other people, only if you want the same things in your heaven. It makes me almost believe that, yeah maybe heaven IS like that. A good chance that it could be that.

I think the fact that the story is told by the murdered girl in heaven is the key that makes the book interesting. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be that profound.

Ratings: 3.5 out of 5
Easy enjoyable reading. I like Sebold’s style of writing. I would say it’s high 3.5, but I can’t give it 4. At the end of the day, it just didn’t make me go WOW. I don’t know why. Maybe there are some less than satisfying elements in the story. *spoiler alert* (highlight to see) Like the end of the murderer. I guess it would be more satisfying if they caught him at the end for a closure. But on the other hand, it’s a good representation of life. Sometimes you just won’t know everything. You just have to go on with life. I like how the family can go through their misery at the end, even without a proper ‘closure’. It’s life. You survive or you die.

Awards
Longlisted for 2003 Orange Prize for Fiction

Lucky by Alice Sebold

Lucky by Alice Sebold

This book was released at Singapore OBCZ (Official Bookcrossing Zone) Moonriver Cafe.

So instead of reading Lovely Bones first, I read this book by Alice Sebold. I feel compelled to read Lovely Bones because everybody’s reading it (will do soon). Lucky caught my interest because it’s a true story of the author. I’m a sucker for true survival story, so I grabbed the $5 book.

From the back cover:
In a memoir hailed for its searing candour and wit, Alice Sebold reveals how her life was utterly transformed when, as an 18-year-old college freshman, she was brutally raped and beaten in a park near campus.

I struggled a little bit here and there to continue, finding the details of the story at times hard to swallow. I had problem especially remembering the side characters and their names, and following the overall timeline. The start was a bit slow too, going into details of Sebold’s family: an intellect distant father, an alcoholic depressed mother, and an introvert moody sister, who, despite their flaws, tried their best to fit in into their roles.

You know how one book can be good for one time but not so much for another time? How it really depends on when you read it at which point of your life? That’s how I felt with the book. I wasn’t really into a depressing surviving rape story at that time, so I wasn’t as enthusiastic as I thought I would. I feel a bit guilty for treating it as just that, story. Because it’s not just that. It’s a true and honest insight into Sebold’s chronicle to recovery. The details of how the law worked also introduced new things for me. From affidavit, court, to how the law sometimes works in a funny way for trying to be just and fair to all parties.

Looking back, I would say that Sebold is a fine author, and a mighty survivor. I found it interesting that she ended the book before she met her current husband. I guess I half expected that someone would “save” her at the end. So this sentence in the book could not be more profound: “You save yourself or you remain unsaved.”

Ratings: 3.5 out 5
It’s worth reading for one who’s into the subject or the author, but not exactly enjoyable nor does it stand out as a memoir/biography. Still a huge respect for Sebold for being so bold.

Memorable Quotes

“Memory could save, that it had power, that it was often the only recourse of the powerless, the oppressed, or the brutalized.” ~ pg114

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